Duke University is indefinitely suspending all athletic activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. The university announced its decision in a statement on Thursday, March 12.
“We are taking this action to protect the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and others who are essential to these activities,” Duke President Vincent E. Price said in a statement
“I know it is a great disappointment to our student-athletes and coaches, whose hard work and dedication to their sports and Duke is inspirational to so many, but we must first look out for their health and well-being. This is clearly an unprecedented moment for our university, our region and the wider world. As we take steps to confront the spread of this virus, I’m grateful for the cooperation and support of the entire Duke community.”
While the suspension will impact all sports, it is a monumental moment for the Blue Devils basketball program which is currently the No. 10 team in the country.
Due to the suspension, Duke would be forced to withdraw from the 2020 NCAA Tournament — if the tournament goes on as planned.
“We emphatically support the decision made by Dr. Price today regarding the suspension of athletic competition at Duke,” Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “The welfare of our student-athletes, and all students at Duke, is paramount, and this decision reflects that institutional priority. Certainly, I want to applaud Dr. Price, who took a leadership role with his presidential peers and the Atlantic Coast Conference in arriving at this decision.”
The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons, while the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held without fans.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in China, it has now reached many countries around the world including the United States. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.